Using Author Central

by Amy Atwell

Thank you so much to Martha for inviting me today! It’s always fun to write a guest post and meet new people. I haven’t done enough of it this past year because I’ve been busy researching and building a new website called Author EMS—a resource library for authors on all sorts of topic related to the business of publishing and being an entrepreneurial author.

Today, I want to give you sneak peek at the kind of information we’re curating inside our “library.”  Case in point:  Author Central. Have you heard of it? Chances are, if you’re a published author with a book for sale on Amazon, you have. If you’re not yet published, file this away for future reference because you’ll want it one day.

If you’re the author of a book for sale on Amazon, you’re recognized as part of the product features. Doesn’t matter whether you’re indie published or commercially published, your name is link on your book’s product page. You’re also searchable in Amazon’s data.  On any Amazon page, put your name in the search box.  Your author page should come up as an option.

An author page shares your bio, your blog and/or Twitter feed and links to all your books with Amazon shoppers. But, you may have to add or update this information. You do that through Amazon’s Author Central. Go to http://authorcentral.amazon.com/

If you’ve never visited Author Central before, you’ll need to join. It’s free, and you can use the same Amazon login you use as a customer—if you want. I like to keep things simple, so that’s what I do. Once inside, there are a number of tabs across the top in a blue navigation bar.

  • HOME has the latest news from Amazon plus some general links that may be helpful to all authors.
  • BOOKS should show a list of all your books. If all your books aren’t there, they offer a link to search through Amazon and add the missing books. This is important, because you want Amazon shoppers to see all your books when they visit your Author Page.
  • Also, when you select a book from this page, you’ll get more specifics on it, including a chance to add an editorial review or a note from the author.
  • Be sure to click on the BOOK EXTRAS tab that appears under your book cover photo (you’re still on the BOOKS tab in the main navigation). This page is linked to Shelfari, now owned by Amazon. If you follow the link to Shelfari, you can link your Shelfari account to your Author Central account.  Be aware that everyone at Shelfari will now know you’re an author! You or other Shelfari users can add information about your book.  These extras show up on Kindles and in the Safari community.
  • PROFILE is your chance to add or update your author bio. You can link a blog RSS feed from your blog, add photos, video (do you have a book trailer?), and your Twitter feed. Also, look for information on getting a custom URL for your Author Page.  Mine is http://amazon.com/author/amyatwell .  This makes it really easy to use as a link when you’re blogging or tweeting or for your signature line.
  • SALES INFO shares info on your print and digital book sales rank. If you’re indie published, this won’t give nearly as much info as KDP, but the print book sales info from BookScan is helpful.
  • CUSTOMER REVIEWS shows all your reviews for all your books. You can sort by high-low, low-high, new-old, old-new and also filter by book title.
  • HELP is a thorough section that gives instructions on everything you can do in Author Central.

I continue to be amazed at the number of books I see on Amazon where the author has left the Author Page pretty much blank. Which brings me to my final point:  Amazon has sales outlets in other countries.  You should be able to login to Amazon.uk and follow the same basic instructions to access and update your Author Page on that site.  Right now, it’s a bit of a challenge to get to the Author Pages in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Hope that helps a few people out there. If you have questions about Amazon or Author Central regarding book and author listings, feel free to ask. I’ll answer whatever I can.

And, I hope you’ll also take a few minutes to explore the Author EMS website to see all the information it has to offer.